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Unattended burn barrel sparks garage fire

Posted at 3:32 PM, Oct 16, 2022

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — Charlotte County officials say a weekend fire is an example of the dangers of burning your own storm debris.

According to the county's emergency management Facebook page, an unattended burn barrel spread to a nearby garage Saturday afternoon.

Crews from two fire departments responded and quickly put out the flames. No injuries were reported.

However, officials said the fire was preventable, as the owner left the barrel to burn without supervision.

Open burn guidelines from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection:

Open burning of “yard waste” (defined as leaves, shrub trimmings, grass clippings, palm fronds, and brush) on residential premises of not more than two family units is allowed, provided that the below requirements in subsection 62-256.700(1), F.A.C., are met.

  1. The yard waste must have been generated on the same premise as where it’s being open burned.
  2. The open burning must occur between the hours of 8:00 AM CST (9:00 AM EST) to one hour before sunset.
  3. The open burning must be enclosed in a noncombustible container or be in a pile no greater than eight feet in diameter.
  4. The location of the open burn must be set back at least 150 feet from any occupied building other than that of the landowner, 50 feet from any paved public roadway, and 25 feet from any wildlands, brush, or combustible structure.
  5. The open burning must be attended with fire extinguishing equipment ready at all times.
  6. Authorization from FFS is not required for burning of residential yard waste; however, it is recommended that you still contact FFS regarding burn conditions for the day(s) you plan to open burn. 

Click here for full DEP guidelines regarding open burning.

Charlotte County OEM officials urge you to have a way to extinguish fires quickly in an emergency.